SGA 1.07 "Poisoning The Well" Transcript

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1.07 "Poisoning The Well"

Episode Guide

SGA 1.07 "Poisoning The Well" Episode Guide

Précis

Exploring a new 'gate address, the team encounters the Hoffans, a human civilization that has developed a drug with the potential to make them immune to the Wraith. When they learn of the Wraith's awakening at the hands of the Atlantis team, the Hoffan leaders grow impatient and demand that their people be inoculated before the drug is proven safe.

Guide | Transcript

Transcript

TEASER

EXT—HOFFAN CITY, DAY

[The early industrial city is beside a river, smokestacks are active all around. A Puddle Jumper is parked beside a large building with a dome. There is a crater with the remains of a ruined building nearby.]

INT—HOFFAN UNDERGROUND CORRIDOR

[Hoffan Chancellor Druhin leads the Atlantis team on a tour of the facility.]

DRUHIN
Reliable power generation is one of our greatest concerns. With this project, we hope, soon, to be able to convert and utilize the intense heat trapped beneath the surface of our planet.
MCKAY
Geothermal energy.

[They arrive at a room full of machinery.]

MCKAY
What, using this? Do you have any idea how complex geothermal energy is?
SHEPPARD
McKay…
MCKAY
I'm sure it'll work like a charm.
SHEPPARD
Looks like you're…accomplishing great things here, Chancellor.
DRUHIN
Since the last Wraith culling, we have worked diligently to rebuild our society.
TEYLA
Are you not concerned that your efforts will attract the attention of the Wraith?
DRUHIN
Yes, but we refuse to let that stop us from striving to reach our potential. To do otherwise would simply mean victory for them. However, we currently, are working on a viable defense.
SHEPPARD

(suddenly very interested)

Defense? Really? We've been here for two days before you mention that?
DRUHIN
I had to learn that you could be trusted.
FORD
Are you talking about some sort of defensive weapon?
DRUHIN
You could call it that. Something that we hope will protect us from the next Wraith culling.
MCKAY
So you are expecting it to happen again.
DRUHIN
Of course. But if the Wraith return as they have historically, they won't be here for least another fifty years.
MCKAY

(looking sideways at Sheppard)

Fifty years you say?
SHEPPARD
How about that weapon?
DRUHIN
Yes, yes. If you'll just come this way.

[Druhin leads Ford and Teyla away; Sheppard and McKay stay behind to talk privately.]

MCKAY
You haven't told him that we practically woke the Wraith from hibernation, have you?
SHEPPARD
No, I have— I haven't really had the chance.
MCKAY
We've been here two days.
SHEPPARD
One and a half, really.

[They start to follow the others.]

MCKAY
Major, they're not expecting the Wraith for another 50 years. We have to let them know they could show up at any time now.
SHEPPARD
If you're so eager, why don't you tell them?

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH FACILITY

[The team is touring the facility.]

MCKAY
Reminds you of Area 51, doesn't it?
SHEPPARD
Circa 1918.
FORD
I don't think Area 51 was around in 1918, sir.
SHEPPARD
Well, the area was.
MCKAY
True.
FORD
I don't think there's a hope in hell these people could have a weapon that— Weapons come in all shapes, and sizes, Lieutenant.

[They enter a room where a scientist is working with chemicals.]

DRUHIN
Major Sheppard, I think you'll find this intriguing.

[He holds up a corked test tube containing a red liquid. Sheppard takes it from him.]

SHEPPARD
Okay. I'm intrigued. What is it?
DRUHIN
Something that we hope will one day make us completely immune to the Wraith.

END TEASER

OPENING CREDITS

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—ATLANTIS BRIEFING ROOM

[The team briefs Weir.]

TEYLA
According to Chancellor Druhin, their drug is still several years away from being finished.
MCKAY
I’d say given their current level of technology, that could be an understatement. Just because they believe they're close to a breakthrough doesn't mean that they are.
TEYLA
You saw for yourself that their entire civilization is based upon the completion of that goal, Dr. McKay. I would not underestimate them.
WEIR
Do we even know for certain that the Wraith are an immediate threat?
SHEPPARD
We can probably bet they don't have 50 years.
MCKAY
Hence, Major Sheppard has generously offered our help to the Hoffans.
WEIR

(surprised)

Has he?
SHEPPARD

(defensively)

Look. The fact is, if they're on to something, maybe we could speed up the process.
WEIR
Okay, Major, you have a go, but if the drug really is, just a pipe dream—
SHEPPARD
Dr. Beckett's already volunteered to help us find that out.
WEIR

(skeptical)

Oh, he has, huh?
SHEPPARD
He will.

EXT—WORMHOLE TRAVEL

INT—HOFFAN UNDERGROUND CORRIDOR

[Beckett and Sheppard's team walk briskly down the hallway.]

BECKETT
It's not that I mind lending people a hand…
SHEPPARD
No, of course not.
MCKAY
You're a generous man, Carson.
BECKETT
But it's the principle of the thing, isn't it? You can't go around volunteering someone for something without consulting them first. That's not even volunteering, is it? It's being pressed into service. Not to mention the fact that I'm not—
SHEPPARD
Not military. I can't give you orders, I know.
MCKAY
No, no, no, no, no. He just doesn't like going through the Stargate.
SHEPPARD
He's worse than Dr. McCoy.
TEYLA
Who?
SHEPPARD
The TV character that Dr. Beckett plays in real life.
BECKETT
Converting the human body into energy and sending it millions of light years through a wormhole…bloody insanity.
MCKAY
Come on, how often do you get to travel to an alien planet?
BECKETT
I was already on an alien planet.

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH LAB

[Beckett has brought his more modern equipment to the lab. Beckett picks up a tray of Hoffan test tubes filled with different colored liquids.]

SHEPPARD
Should you be messing with that stuff?
BECKETT
I know what I'm doing, Major. Thank you. From the looks of things, they've mastered a few basics—biochemistry, physiology, perhaps even some form of molecular biology. Fairly impressive, considering…

[A pretty woman enters and answers.]

PERNA
It is our people's legacy. This room represents hundreds of years of medical knowledge. I am Perna, Chief Scientist for the project.
SHEPPARD
John Sheppard. Oh, and this is Teyla and Lieutenant Ford—
BECKETT

(somewhat smitten)

Carson. Beckett. Doctor. I mean, call me Carson.
MCKAY
I'm Dr. McKay. Dr. Rodney McKay.

[He reaches his hand out, but she doesn't take it. He lowers it awkwardly.]

PERNA
I hope you will find our facilities suitable.
BECKETT

(smiling flirtatiously)

Oh, they're charming, perfectly charming.

[The team leaves Beckett and Ford with Perna.]

INT—HOFFAN UNDERGROUND CORRIDOR

[Druhin leads the Sheppard, McKay, and Teyla down the hallway.]

DRUHIN
Long ago, this city was once a testament to our imagination, our creative spirit, to endless possibility.
MCKAY
How long ago was that?
DRUHIN
It is true that we have been forced to rebuild many times and never to our potential. That is why perfecting the drug is so important. It is more than just a defense against the Wraith. It is our future.
TEYLA
With respect, Chancellor, you cannot prevent the culling. It is a fact of existence.
DRUHIN
A fact we challenge. We will always search for a way to end the cycle of destruction.
TEYLA
The Wraith will always prevent any race from advancing too far.
SHEPPARD
You figure you can beat them.
DRUHIN
Yes. Through knowledge.

[He has led them to a large metal door. A guard opens it. Inside is a huge chamber full of books. Sheppard and the other approach slowly, clearly amazed.]

DRUHIN
A number of archives like this one are hidden throughout the city. Their existence is known only to a few.
SHEPPARD
This is…very impressive.
DRUHIN
We meticulously preserve the accomplishments of each generation before they are wiped out by the Wraith.
SHEPPARD
So everything your people ever learned is in here.
DRUHIN
And in other archives identical to this one.
MCKAY
In case they destroy one. You guys are serious about this.
DRUHIN
Standing on the shoulders of our forefathers.
TEYLA
How long have you been working on this Wraith drug?
DRUHIN
One hundred and fifty years ago, our scientists were close to creating a viable prototype, only to die before seeing its fruition.
SHEPPARD
So you're hoping that if this world's no good to them, they're just gonna move on?
DRUHIN
The Wraith cannot possibly perceive us as a threat.
SHEPPARD
To tell you the truth, I don't know how they would react.
TEYLA
If they choose to wipe you out of existence, you will be helpless.
DRUHIN
We cannot hope to control their actions. We can only do what we can to end the cycle that has gone on for far too long.

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH LAB

[Perna takes down a book from a shelf and brings it to Beckett.]

PERNA
His name was Farrol Mylan. Before he died in the last culling, he was one of our most celebrated medical researchers. He was the one who found it.
BECKETT
Found what?
PERNA
The key. His journals tell of one man who survived an encounter with the Wraith. Farrol and his team discovered that this man possessed a unique protein, one that enabled him to resist the chemical released by the Wraith to precipitate draining of life from their victims. After painstaking trial and error—
BECKETT
Farrol made a copy of the protein.
PERNA
He was eventually able to create a prototype of a drug designed to interfere with the Wraith feeding process.
BECKETT
And it worked?
PERNA
Farrol was killed before the drug could be used to defend Hoff.
BECKETT
And it's been your job to make certain his work wasn't in vain. Quite the responsibility.
PERNA
It is a great honor.
BECKETT
How do you know for certain that this Farrol…wasn't just embellishing his results, or for that matter, making them up? I mean, all you have to go on are his notes.
PERNA
He and his team worked until the last possible moment. They knew the Wraith ships were overhead, and still they worked through the night, hoping to provide one more insight, one last thread of knowledge. Not for themselves, but for the generation that would survive. Ten thousand soldiers gave their lives to give them those last few hours. The last words of Farrol's journal are known to all Hoffans.
BECKETT
I meant no disrespect, Perna.
PERNA
It's all right. More than just his journals survived the culling. His research materials were safeguarded as well, including carefully preserved Wraith cell samples which we still use in our work today. Please. See for yourself.

[She shows him to a microscope with a slide next to it. He puts the slide under the lens and looks through it reluctantly.]

BECKETT
Whoa. That's incredible…

[Perna smiles.]

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM

[Beckett and Weir walk down the stairs then leave the gate room.]

BECKETT
I saw it with my own eyes, Dr. Weir.
WEIR
Yes, in a petri dish. And we are talking about 150-year-old Wraith cells. I mean, for all we know, they could be immune to the drug by now, or come up with defenses against it—
BECKETT
I don't think so, Doctor. I took the liberty of running a few tests of my own, using cells taken from the Wraith arm Major Sheppard brought back from Athos. The results were the same—near complete resistance. They've definitely got something. Believe me, I'm more surprised than anyone.
WEIR
So, what do you recommend?
BECKETT
That we take their work to the next level. I've informed the Hoffans of our guest in the brig.
WEIR
You realize what you're asking for?
BECKETT
I do.

INT—ATLANTIS BRIG

[The Wraith prisoner is inside the cell. Bates stands outside the bars, guarding him. Sheppard arrives.]

SHEPPARD
Anything I should know about, Sergeant?
BATES
No, sir. He's been quiet.
SHEPPARD
He's still trying to make you see things?
BATES
He's given up on that.
SHEPPARD
I didn't think he'd last this long.

[Sheppard approaches the cell.]

WRAITH
Hello again, Major Sheppard.
SHEPPARD
Sorry if I woke you. Just came by to see if there's anything you needed. Magazine, fresh towels…
WRAITH
You hide your fear poorly, Major.
SHEPPARD
You know, we've been having these conversations for a couple of weeks now, and I don't even know your name. You guys do have names, right? Let me guess. Steve?
WRAITH
I am your death. That is all you need to know.
SHEPPARD
I prefer "Steve".
WRAITH
What do you hope to gain from this?
SHEPPARD
Just trying to bridge the gap between our two cultures, get to know you better. That, and try to figure out how to keep your kind from sucking the life out of millions of innocent people.
WRAITH
Even if I told you what you wanted to know, it would change nothing. You are doomed, as are any humans that stand in our way.
SHEPPARD
Can't be a nice way to die. Hungry, slow… knowing your food source is just out of reach…

[Furious, the Wraith strikes at the cell force field, then retreats.]

WRAITH

(shouting)

Why do you keep me here?
SHEPPARD
I need to know what we're up against. For example, how many of those big hive ships, have you got, and where are they?
WRAITH
You have nothing to offer me in return.
SHEPPARD
We could talk about easing your hunger, Steve.
WRAITH
You would never sacrifice one of your own kind. And yet, it is all that stands between you and the information you seek.

[Sheppard stares at him.]

INT—ATLANTIS BRIEFING ROOM

[Beckett briefs Sheppard, McKay, Teyla, and Weir.]

BECKETT
Using living Wraith cells is our only recourse at this juncture. Without them, we have no way of knowing for certain if the drug is actually viable.
TEYLA
You said it worked effectively on the cells of the severed Wraith arm we brought back.
BECKETT
It did, but those were already in a partially decayed state. We need live samples.
WEIR
And with new samples, you think it's possible to create a prototype?
BECKETT
Given enough time, yes, I do.
MCKAY
He's got a good point. The Hoffans are practically obsessed.
BECKETT
Thank you, Rodney.
TEYLA
I agree, Doctor, but their obsession may become their undoing.
MCKAY
Well, even if they do…undo, it'd be good for us. I mean, given the choice, wouldn't you want to be immune?
TEYLA
Not if it meant the lives the Wraith might otherwise spare. This drug would only… be of value if everyone, everywhere, possessed the same immunity.
SHEPPARD
There's a thought worth pursuing.
WEIR
I agree. Major, have you made any progress with your prisoner?
SHEPPARD
Well, not yet, but he just blinked.
MCKAY
He blinked? What does that mean?
SHEPPARD
It means he's still holding on, but he's indicated to me that he may break soon.
MCKAY
And he indicated this to you by blinking?
SHEPPARD

(annoyed)

Yes.
BECKETT
No offense, Major, but so far, he hasn't told you a thing. For all we know, he could linger this way for months, and, ultimately, we'll learn nothing.
TEYLA
The Wraith could be on their way to Hoff, as we speak. If your prisoner holds the key to the creation of this drug, should we not take advantage of this?
WEIR
How could we get the sample off him, safely?
TEYLA
We still possess the weapons used in his capture. It would be a simple matter of incapacitating him again.
WEIR
So then it's possible?
SHEPPARD
It's possible.

INT—ATLANTIS BRIG

[Steve kneels on the cell floor, his back to the door. Sheppard and Ford open the door and enter. Bates, Beckett, and others wait outside. The guards have their weapons drawn.]

SHEPPARD
Hi, Steve.
FORD
Bye, Steve.

[The Wraith gets up, turns around and attacks them with a growl. Ford shoots him with a Wraith stunner. It keeps coming, so Ford shoots him again. He falls unconscious. Ford, Sheppard, and Bates approach him, weapons drawn.]

SHEPPARD
Doctor.
BECKETT
Is he… I mean, you're certain he's…
FORD
He's down, Doc. Do your thing.

[Beckett sighs and approaches.]

FORD
Almost looks peaceful, doesn't he?
BECKETT
Peaceful? Are you out of your bloody mind?

EXT—HOFFAN CITY, DAY

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH LAB

[Beckett connects his laptop to an Earth microscope so that it shows the output. He has brought a big case of samples, which Perna examines excitedly.]

PERNA
I have never seen devices such as these.
BECKETT

(looking through microscope)

The work you've done refining the drug has been good up till now. With all this… we can make it better. From what I can tell, your biggest problem is that the test inoculations failed to show enough of a presence in human cells to be effective.
PERNA
What we need is a better delivery system.
BECKETT
Exactly, and the best place to start is to recreate the key protein in the serum and work our way up from there. If we can avoid having to re-engineer it from a natural source and make an entirely synthetic version, it should ultimately increase the efficiency.
PERNA
Such a thing is possible?
BECKETT
Anything's possible, if you're willing to give it a go. Come on then, a bald head is soon shaved.
PERNA
You speak differently than the others.
BECKETT
You noticed that, did you? Sorry if I confuse you. Trust me, where I come from, it all makes perfect sense.
PERNA
What is it like?
BECKETT
Scotland? Oh, I think it's beautiful, but I'm told it's something of an acquired taste.
PERNA
I meant your world. It must be so peaceful there, knowing that the Wraith will not come.
BECKETT
Oh, you'd be surprised how not peaceful it is. We're spoiled rotten, now that I think of it.
PERNA
Oh, you miss it. I'm sorry for inquiring.
BECKETT
Oh, no, no. Don't be, love.

[They work in the lab while Sheppard watches Steve get weaker in his cell. Night falls outside the lab on Hoff. The Wraith gets every weaker.]

PERNA

(reading from Mylan's notes)

One can see the various refraction chambers required to complete the preliminary stage of fluctuation required to boil down the base material…

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH lab

[It is the next day, or later. Beckett looks intently at the microscope read-out.]

BECKETT
Perna.

[She joins him and looks, then turns to him in amazement. They smile and hug each other joyfully.]

[Later Druhin has joined them.]

DRUHIN
One hundred percent cellular penetration in all five test inoculations. Incredible.
BECKETT
There's still a lot of data to be analyzed, but the initial results are very promising, I agree.
PERNA
Dr. Beckett's efforts have advanced the project by decades.
BECKETT
Perna's formula was right on track. It was just a matter of changing its molecular design so it could be better absorbed by the body.
DRUHIN
This is an enormous victory for our people, Doctor. I don't know how to thank you.
BECKETT
No need. Of course, it's only a preliminary.
DRUHIN
How soon, then, until you can set up the next stage of testing?
PERNA
You'll have a schedule later today, Chancellor.
BECKETT
I'm sorry, "next stage"?
DRUHIN
Your report makes it abundantly clear that the project is ready to proceed to its next phase.
PERNA
We want to test the serum's effectiveness against your prisoner.

[Beckett exhales as he ponders this.]

INT—ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM

[Sheppard and Weird walk to Weir's office.]

WEIR
And you support this.
SHEPPARD
All we know for certain is he's going to die, so we might as well make good use of him while he's still alive.
WEIR
You do understand the Geneva Convention prohibits using prisoners for scientific experiments.
SHEPPARD
No offense, Doc, but had the Wraith attended the Geneva Convention, they would have tried to feed on everyone there.
WEIR
Beckett's report indicates that we have no idea what the long-term effect of this drug on humans might be.
SHEPPARD
Well, we know damn well what the long-term effects of Wraith culling are, right?
WEIR
We're talking about putting a human being in the same room as a starving Wraith, and once we start down that road—
SHEPPARD
Which road did you think we were headed down?
WEIR
Not this one. At least not this fast.
SHEPPARD
Having spent time with the prisoner, I don't pity him. He's going to die anyway. This drug could be useful some day.
WEIR
Some day?
SHEPPARD

The point is, we don't get a lot of opportunities like this. Do you know how obsessed with this the Hoffans are? When they found out we had a live Wraith prisoner…
(insistent)

He's going to die. I've tried to feed him all sorts of live stuff, but apparently, there's only one item on his menu.
WEIR
And what about the test subject? If the drug fails—
SHEPPARD
We're not just grabbing anybody off the street. The test subject is a terminally ill patient who has volunteered himself.
WEIR
These are not exactly the type of decisions that I was expecting to make on this expedition.

[He steps back to wait as she stands to consider her decision.]

WEIR
Do it.

[Sheppard rushes out.]

INT—ATLANTIS BRIG

[Sheppard arrives at the bars of the cell where the Wraith sits.]

SHEPPARD
Hi, Steve.
WRAITH
More samples?
SHEPPARD
I was thinking more along the lines of a field trip. You want sustenance. I want information.
WRAITH
You are incapable of offering such a trade.
SHEPPARD
You tell me something of value, I let you eat. That's the deal. Take it or leave it.
WRAITH
Very well.

INT—ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM

[Weir enters and approaches the technician.]

WEIR
Are they ready?
TECHNICIAN
Major Sheppard and Lieutenant Ford are loading the prisoner into Jumper Two. Sergeant Bates is already on the ground, and standing by for their arrival at the rendezvous site.

INT—JUMPER BAY

[The Wraith is sitting inside the jumper between two airmen as the rear hatch closes. Sheppard is piloting with Ford as co-pilot.]

INT—ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM

WEIR

(into radio)

Jumper two, this is Weir. What's your status?

INT—JUMPER BAY

SHEPPARD
We're nice and cozy here. Ready to depart.
WEIR
Be safe, Major.
SHEPPARD
That's the plan.

INT—ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM

TECHNICIAN
Jumper Two, you are go for launch.
SHEPPARD

(into radio)
Roger that.
(to Ford)

Dial it up.

[Ford starts to dial. He looks back to see the Wraith smiling.]

FORD
Hey, man, this isn't supposed to be fun.

INT—ATLANTIS GATE ROOM

[The Puddle Jumper goes through the Stargate.]

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH FACILITY

[Beckett and Perna speak to the ill patient, a man in his forties.]

BECKETT
Perna explained to me about your illness. I want you to know how sorry I am. I wish there was something I could do for you.
MERELL
It's my time, Dr. Beckett. I am at peace with my fate.
BECKETT
I think it's important you know that we may be talking about a less than peaceful ending here.
PERNA
I have explained to Merell in great detail what may befall him.
BECKETT
You should also understand that this drug has never worked in anything other than a laboratory simulation. We don't know for certain what will happen.
MERELL
Even if it doesn't work, you'll learn something of value, how to perfect it in the future?
BECKETT
Possibly, but that's no reason for you to face that creature.
MERELL
Dr. Beckett, I'm not afraid. No matter what happens, my death will have meaning. Is that not something we all strive for, to die knowing we made a difference? I want to do this. Please don't deny me the chance to help my people.

INT—HOFFAN UNDERGROUND CORRIDOR

[Beckett and Perna have left Merell and walk along the corridor.]

PERNA
What do you think?
BECKETT
That it goes against everything I believe in. There is an oath among medical people where I come from. It begins, "First, do no harm."
PERNA
Important words to you.
BECKETT
More than words, Perna.
PERNA

(reciting by memory)

"The battle rages at the very threshold of our laboratory now. Those of us working to the last know that these few final hours have been dearly purchased, yet our concentration has not waned. We cannot hope to save ourselves, but we can hope that one last insight, one last revelation, before we take our dying breaths…may prevent this terrible day from happening again."
BECKETT
Farrol's last journal entry.
PERNA
More than words, Carson.
BECKETT
I understand that. I do. But there are too many unknowns. We need time to determine the possible side effects of—
PERNA
There is no time! Are you so afraid of making a mistake that you can no longer see what we're up against?
BECKETT

This isn't about making mistakes, Perna. It's about the end justifying the means, and in our profession, that's a very slippery slope. We have no idea

if this will work. We could be sacrificing that man to a monster.
PERNA
There will be another to take his place.
BECKETT
That's just what I'm afraid of.

INT—ATLANTIS BRIG

[Teyla arrives where Sheppard and Ford are waiting outside the cage containing the Wraith.]

TEYLA
They are ready.

[Sheppard approaches the cage.]

FORD
Careful, sir.

[Beckett, Perna, and Merell approach. The Wraith sees them.]

WRAITH
This is the sustenance you promised?
SHEPPARD
A little change in plans. You tell me something right now…or the dinner party's canceled.
WRAITH
What do you want to know?
SHEPPARD
How many hive ships have become operational since we awakened the first one?
WRAITH
All of them, Major Sheppard. First, they will travel their own feeding grounds and gather strength. We are a patient race, Major. When we have taken our fill and gathered our strength, we will join force and come for you.
SHEPPARD
You have any idea when that will be—morning, afternoon?

[The Wraith scoffs.]

SHEPPARD

(to guards)

Open it up.
BECKETT
You don't have to do this.
MERELL
I know. I'm ready.

[The Wraith takes a deep breath. Merell enters the cage and unbuttons his shirt to expose his chest to the Wraith. The Wraith approaches.]

WRAITH
He is weak.

[The Wraith tries to feed on Merell, but it doesn't work. After a moment he withdraws his feeding hand, leaving bloody marks on Merell's chest but no sign of aging. The Wraith turns his back to everyone in disappointment. Perna is stunned.]

EXT—HOFFAN CITY, DAY

INT—HOFFAN CONFERENCE ROOM

[Druhin pours white wine for himself, Beckett and Perna.]

DRUHIN
You are both heroes of the Hoffan people.
BECKETT
I'll admit, it was amazing.
DRUHIN
I hope your friends will join us for a celebratory banquet to honor your work.
BECKETT
They'd be glad to attend, but don't you think celebrations are a bit premature?
DRUHIN
The results speak for themselves. I intend to ask the council to approve mass production of the serum, effective immediately. After what happened today, I doubt they will offer any resistance.
PERNA
That is wonderful news, Chancellor.
BECKETT
With all due respect, no, it isn't. We're talking about one test here. Now, I'm as pleased as anyone with the results, but we still have a lot of work to do before we can start using it.
PERNA
Dr. Beckett wishes to run a full series of tests on Merell prior to issuing his final report.
BECKETT
There may have been mitigating circumstances. The man was dying, for one.
DRUHIN
Of course. I'll bring it up with council. To success…

[They clink their glasses in a toast.]

INT—ATLANTIS BRIG

[Sheppard and Teyla arrive.]

SHEPPARD
What is it?
FORD
It's Steve. He doesn't look so good.

[The Wraith is unable to stand and is groaning in distress.]

TEYLA
How long has he been like this?
FORD
Since the test.
SHEPPARD
Think it's a ruse?
TEYLA
It is not their way.

[Ford shakes his head. The Wraith pulls himself to his feet by the bars.]

SHEPPARD
Hey.
WRAITH
What have you done to me?

[The Wraith runs at Sheppard, pushing his arm through the bars. Sheppard steps back. The Wraith falls to the floor, gasping.]

SHEPPARD
We need Beckett in here.
FORD

(to guards)

Go.

[The Wraith lies panting.]

SHEPPARD
We're going to help you.
WRAITH
Don't feel pity for me. You will suffer far worse when the others come for you.

[The Wraith gasps and dies.]

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH LAB

[The dead Wraith is lying on a metal table. Sheppard has joined Beckett.]

BECKETT
Major, I was just about to cut him open.
SHEPPARD
Then I was just leaving.
BECKETT
I've already done a series of tests you might like to know the results of.
SHEPPARD
You know what killed him?
BECKETT
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that it was all of his vital organs shutting down almost simultaneously.
SHEPPARD
Did he starve to death?
BECKETT
No. Based on the condition his body's in, I don't think he died from a lack of nourishment.
SHEPPARD
Well, then what was it?
BECKETT
Initial tests revealed a significant amount of Hoffan serum in his blood stream. I'm guessing we'll find similar trace amounts in each of his organs once we analyze those as well.
SHEPPARD
Why did the Hoffan drug end up in his blood?
BECKETT
From the Hoffan's research, we know that when the Wraith feed, they release a chemical into their victims' bodies. What it actually does, we don't yet understand, but I can only assume that it prepares the human body in some way to be drained of life. The serum is designed to shield the victim from that initial chemical release, blocking it.
SHEPPARD
Okay.
BECKETT
I think the serum protein may have mutated, when it was exposed to the Wraith chemical, triggering some sort of toxic reaction.
SHEPPARD
So instead of feeding off of him…
BECKETT
He was poisoned. So, if the serum did this, then it's more than just a defense against the Wraith.
SHEPPARD
It kills them.

INT—HOFFAN CONFERENCE ROOM

[Druhin speaks to Sheppard and Teyla.]

DRUHIN
I fail to see cause for alarm, Major. If anything, this development dramatically increases the value of the serum.
SHEPPARD
No, it just takes away any doubt about what the Wraith will do when they eventually come here.
DRUHIN
I fail to see the difference.
TEYLA
Once they learn you possess a weapon such as this, the Wraith will wipe your people from existence, in retaliation for the Wraith deaths.
DRUHIN
Or they may simply leave us alone once they learn we are…unpalatable.
SHEPPARD
Because they're such an easygoing, live-and-let-live kind of race. You know, maybe there was half a chance at that, when we were talking about this being defensive, but now—
DRUHIN
You fail to see the larger picture, Major. For the first time, we have a way to not just defend ourselves, but to strike back.
SHEPPARD
Is this about revenge or saving your people?
DRUHIN
You can't hope to understand the generations of suffering…
SHEPPARD
I've been in one of their hives, and I've fought against their ships, and trust me, when the first Wraith dies because of this drug, they're not going to simply move on, they're going to make their problem go away.
TEYLA

Once your world has been destroyed, they will seek out any who have had,

contact with you. They will spare no one.
SHEPPARD
Listen, I know how passionate you are about this. This drug is sort of your Holy Grail, but…you're going to have to shelve it, until we get a better idea—
DRUHIN
No, no.
SHEPPARD
I'm serious. Otherwise, we can't help you anymore.
DRUHIN
You don't understand, Major, it's too late. I have made my recommendation, to the council, and they've agreed. We have already begun inoculating our people.

INT—HOFFAN RESEARCH LAB

[Beckett is packing up his equipment. Perna arrives.]

PERNA
You're leaving?
BECKETT
Unless you're willing to go back to formula on the serum, there's no point in my staying, is there?
PERNA
Carson—
BECKETT
Perna, you need to reopen the project. With more work, maybe we could prevent the mutation, maintain it as a defensive drug only.
PERNA
Merell is dead. They found him this morning. The cause of death is still to be determined.
BECKETT
There's still time. They need to stop the inoculations.
PERNA
They won't.
BECKETT
A man is dead.
PERNA
Which doesn't necessarily mean more will follow. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't make them stop, not without more proof.
BECKETT
Perna…you're one of the brightest people I've ever met. For your own sake, I beg you, have no more part in this, at least until we know more.
PERNA
I can't do that.
BECKETT
Why not?
PERNA
Because I was among the first to be inoculated.

[Beckett sighs, distressed.]

INT—HOFFAN CONFERENCE ROOM

[Beckett, Perna, and Sheppard meet Druhin.]

DRUHIN
I appreciate your sense of urgency, Doctor, but at this point it would be unwise to rush to any conclusions.
SHEPPARD
Now you want to exercise caution? Are you serious?
DRUHIN
Major, you yourself have told us the Wraith could be on their way here right now. We have no choice, but to move forward.
SHEPPARD
You're speaking on behalf of a lot of people, Chancellor—
DRUHIN
Do you think I would force this choice upon my own people? No, sir. Our people are in complete agreement.
SHEPPARD
Your people may be dead before the Wraith even get here, for all you know.
BECKETT
Chancellor, please. It's not too late. Suspend the inoculations, at least until we know what killed Merell.
PERNA
He was terminal. We don't know for certain the serum played any part in his death.
BECKETT
He suffered a sudden and complete respiratory breakdown.
PERNA
Which could well have been due to his condition. His sickness, had spread through most of his body.
BECKETT
Are you willing to risk thousands of people's lives based on that assumption, because I'm not.
TEYLA

(over radio)

Major Sheppard.
SHEPPARD
Go ahead, Teyla.

INT—HOFFAN MEDICAL CENTER

[Medical personnel treat a room full of ill people on old-fashioned hospital beds.]

TEYLA
We're in the medical center. We need help.

INT—HOFFAN CONFERENCE ROOM

[Concerned, they all rush to join Teyla.]

INT—HOFFAN MEDICAL CENTER

[They arrive to see the chaos of ill people.]

BECKETT
My God.
TEYLA
Major Sheppard, the doctors say they began arriving last night, and their numbers have been increasing by the hour.
BECKETT
Major—
SHEPPARD

I'm on it. Go.
(to Ford)

Lieutenant, radio Weir. Tell them we need a full medical support team on a jumper and inbound ASAP.
FORD
Roger that.

[Beckett goes to help the patients. After a moment, Druhin leaves.]

BECKETT
Perna. Perna… I need help here! Oxygen! Take it easy. You're sick.

[The patient he was trying to help convulses and dies. Beckett notes the rash on his arm, around the injection site of the serum.]

INT—HOFFAN CONFERENCE ROOM

[Sheppard barges in. A guard starts to block his path, but Druhin stops him.]

DRUHIN
Leave us.
SHEPPARD
Do you have any idea what's going on out there?
DRUHIN
I do, Major.
SHEPPARD
Half the people you gave that drug to are dying.
DRUHIN
Half of them, Major, half. The statistics are clear, and the numbers are holding at that level. It's just been confirmed. Which means the other fifty percent of those we inoculated, will live…and destroy any Wraith who try to feed on them.
SHEPPARD

(shocked)

I don't believe this.
DRUHIN
Now the Wraith will know the full conviction of the Hoffan people.
SHEPPARD
Conviction?
DRUHIN
Do you realize that if we could spread this drug to every human in the galaxy, future generations would never know the horror of a culling.
SHEPPARD
You're deliberately sacrificing millions of lives.
DRUHIN
An end to the Wraith. You can't comprehend the bargain in that?
SHEPPARD

(shouting)

You can't make a bargain like that for your entire people!
DRUHIN
You think I'm alone in this conviction?
SHEPPARD
I think you're delusional.
DRUHIN
You shall see. We are putting it to a vote as we speak. I will stand by the decision of the majority. Does that satisfy you?
SHEPPARD
Do they have any idea what they're voting on?
DRUHIN
Yes. I promise you.
SHEPPARD
And you'll back off if it doesn't go your way?
DRUHIN
You have my word.

[Sheppard leaves.]

INT—HOFFAN MEDICAL CENTER

[Atlantis personnel have arrived to help. The room is more crowded than before.]

BECKETT

(to Atlantis crew-member)

Use whatever rooms you need for overflow. We need to keep this area clear for triage.

[Teyla arrives. She looks unhappy.]

BECKETT
Teyla, there you are. Make sure our oxygen is properly deployed throughout the hospital.
TEYLA
Doctor—
BECKETT
Have non-critical patients use it in turns, just long enough to stabilize their breathing.

[He notices Teyla has not left.]

BECKETT
Teyla, what are you doin'? You're not listening to me. And where's Perna? I need her here.
TEYLA

(touching his shoulder gently)

Carson.

[Carson approaches the bed where Perna lies. She looks very ill. He kneels beside her and takes her hand.]

PERNA
I would have…liked to have seen Atlantis.
BECKETT
Perna…I'm so sorry.
PERNA
Don't look at me that way.
PERNA
I am at peace, with what I have done…as you should be.
BECKETT
I wish I had no part in this.
PERNA
You gave us hope. For years…our people have been working, towards this…very moment. We didn't betray the forefathers. We fulfilled their destiny, their promise.

[Beckett nods and kisses her forehead, crying.]

PERNA
Stay…stay with me. Stay.
BECKETT
I'm here. It's okay.

[He strokes her hair as she dies.]

INT—HOFFAN UNDERGROUND CORRIDOR

[Beckett walks; Ford and McKay are waiting for him.]

FORD
You okay?
BECKETT
Aye.

[Druhin joins them from another corridor.]

DRUHIN
I'm told you are leaving.
SHEPPARD
Yes, we are.
MCKAY
Not that it hasn't been lovely.
DRUHIN
I wanted you to see the results of the vote before you left.

[He hands a paper to Sheppard, who looks at it and gives it to Beckett.]

BECKETT
Ninety-six percent in favor.
TEYLA
Does the vote include all your people?
DRUHIN
Every one. So you see, Major, we speak with one voice, and we are resolute.
SHEPPARD
Yeah, I can see that.
DRUHIN
When next we meet, I would like to discuss the best way to disseminate the drug on as many worlds as possible.
SHEPPARD
We won't be doing that any time soon.
DRUHIN
Perhaps our victory will change your mind.
SHEPPARD
If and when we ever return, I don't imagine you'll be here. I don't imagine anybody else will be, either.

[Beckett hands the paper back to Druhin.]

SHEPPARD
Good luck.

[The Atlanteans walk away.]

BECKETT
"Victory at all costs." That sound familiar, Major?
SHEPPARD
Churchill.
BECKETT
Aye. Never thought I'd disagree.

FADE OUT

END CREDITS

Transcribed for Solutions by Michelle, May 2010.

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--Michelle 05:02, 6 May 2010 (UTC)